Maryland wins 2011 Solar Decathlon

The University of Maryland’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in Washington, D.C., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2011. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The University of Maryland won the 2011 Solar Decathlon, held at the National Mall in Washington, DC.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

College students built the houses offsite and competed in ten equally-weighted contests:

  1. Architecture
  2. Market Appeal
  3. Engineering
  4. Communications
  5. Affordability
  6. Comfort Zone
  7. Hot Water
  8. Appliances
  9. Home Entertainment
  10. Energy Balance
University of Maryland’s Watershed House via Inhabitat

I toured the Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology entry called the Empowerhouse when it was finishing construction in Hoboken, NJ. The Empowerhouse won the Affordability and Hot Water contests. It was designed to be a Passive House and will be extended and joined with another house to form a duplex. Habitat for Humanity DC partnered with the colleges and will make the houses available to low-income Washington residents.

Lakiya Culley, homeowner candidate through Habitat for Humanity, stands outside of her future residence and the Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in Washington, D.C., Wed., Sept. 28, 2011. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)